This is Carl's Brain
Cold City by F. Paul Wilson

Cold City

Having never read any of the Repairman Jack novels, I thought Cold City would be a good place to start, since I would be starting the series in chronological order.  I immediately found the character of Jack to be engaging, a twenty-one year old kid who is trying to live off the grid in a big city after avenging his mother’s death by killing the man who murdered her.  He has a hard time controlling his temper as evidenced by giving a co-worker a horrific beating after the guy sucker-punched Jack.  He befriends Abe, a wizened old Jew from New York who doesn’t always abide by the law but seems to have his own moral compass that guides him.  Later, Jack gets a job running cigarettes from North Carolina.  After saving twenty-eight young girls from being sold as sex slaves, by the end of the book, Jack has made himself a boatload of enemies, who want to see him dead.

Jack is a sympathetic character who is easy to relate to.  He is young and makes some very poor decisions, like not killing one of the sex slave traffickers and busting the guy’s knees instead.  This novel seems like it was mostly setting the stage for what is to come in the subsequent books in the trilogy since nothing is resolved at the end.  The pace of the novel is good and the writing is professional, making for a pleasant and easy read.  I thought the characters were well-developed.  The one thing I didn’t like is the Order, a shadowy international cartel with untold wealth and operatives whose objective is to create chaos.  This group seemed very cliché, like about a dozen other groups I have read in fiction novels, and their goal of chaos seems silly and lacks believability.  This was a fun read and I look forward to the next two novels in the series.